We all know that Valentine’s day is for showing those closest to us how much we love them, by showering them in chocolates and flowers. Many of us will want to show our dogs how much we love them. Unfortunately, our four-legged friends aren’t quite so appreciative of the typical Valentines gifts as what we are.
So how can we show our pets how much we really do love them?
1. Talk to them
Our dogs love it when we talk to them! You talk to the two-legged people that you love, so why would you not do the same to your four-legged valentines? It is believed that sometimes our dogs can understand what we are saying through our tone. Tone and body language tells them how we are feeling more than our words do. We often raise the pitch of our voice when speaking to our pets, which is known as “dog-directed speech”. It appears that dogs prefer this type of talk, whilst also putting you in a better mood.
2. Give them a stroke
Studies have revealed that many dogs prefer physical praise to verbal praise for good behaviour. The best places to stroke your dog tend to be on the shoulders and chest, although many also enjoy a good rub under the chin, the base of the tail, and on the tummy. All dogs have a unique favourite petting spot, and you will need to find out where that is and in what style they like. You will soon know if your dog is enjoying being stroked. A key indicator is when your dog leans into you more, showing that they are comfortable and are enjoying being with you.
3. Rub their ears
A great way to relax your dog is by rubbing their ears. A dog’s ear is full of nerve branches that go to the internal organs, meaning that it won’t just feel good in the ears but throughout the body. When the ears are rubbed, feel good hormones are sent all over. In a sense, you will be making your dog high on their own hormones! Not only does it relax your dog, but it also is a great bonding exercise and will help you relax and lower your blood pressure too.
4. Let them eat out of your hand
When you feed your dog by hand, it doesn’t just show that you are the food provider, but it also builds a strong bond between you both. When hand feeding, you might start to notice that they focus on you when training and trust you more. If your dog doesn’t want to eat from your hand, you could always make them sit and use some of the food as a treat, then use the rest in their bowl. Eating too quickly can lead to health issues, but hand feeding helps to slow down fast eaters. Remember to be careful if your dog is slightly possessive over food and hasn’t been hand fed before; it might take a little while to build up the skill and their trust.
5. Go for a long walk
We all know that dogs need exercise not only to stimulate their brain, allow them to socialise, prevent unwanted weight gain, but also to strengthen the relationship that you have with each other! When you go out with your dog, they won’t only appreciate the exercise, but will also love that they get to spend time with you. This doesn’t mean walking whilst looking at your phone but interacting with and giving one to one attention to your dog; talk to them and play with them!
So whatever way you chose to spend your Valentine’s day this year, don’t forget to treat your furry friend and show them the love that they deserve.